Cocktail Hour began its digital life under the name Random Acts…, the sole webcomic of artist Jennifer “Scraps” Walker. It was a bit of a proving ground, an online experiment in storytelling, art, and technology. We changed style frequently in those early years, went from random one-shots to themes to actual story-lines and increased our posting frequency from one post a week to three, and changed the name to Cocktail Hour before suspending updates in 2010.
That break was supposed to last only a few months, not the 2 years it ended up being, but the result was a completed book (What to Feed Your Raiding Party, the comic book cookbook for gamers) and, in the end, worth it. When we tried to bring the comic back the artist realized a startling thing: the format she’d cut her teeth on, comics-wise, no longer fit her goals and passion the way it used to. Thus, after only a few months of renewed posting, the story reached a stopping point and so did the artist.
Between May, 2007, and September, 2012, we posted 387 comics under the “Random Acts…” and “Cocktail Hour” names, all based on the real-life experiences of the artist, her friends, family, and coworkers. The first year of the comic was collected into a book titled Party in the Handbasket, and the sole attempt at participating in the 24-Hour Comic Book project resulted in a “floppy” or usual-format comic book, Rings on Her Fingers.
You can use the Archives drop-down menu on the sidebar to access any month in the comics history, including starting from the very beginning if you’ve got an afternoon to kill. Or, you can take our informed suggestions, and start at one of these points:
- Meet some of the recurring characters in the strip beginning with the artist in the Bios cards.
- Scraps in New York begins with …a plane pain. The artist and her family took a holiday visit up north–it was our first actual storyline and showed a shift from the full-page, water-colored pages we began the strip with and into the black-and-white style we’d continue with for the remainder of the strip’s run.
- Travel continues to make for good stories in the Scraps in California story, beginning with Apparently you can be too early…
- Want a quick laugh? Shopping for bakeware isn’t usually this amusing, but reality truly is stranger than fiction in Bed Bath & Way Beyond
- Time for a road trip! Friday Night began a girls weekend with all sorts of everyday adventures, questionable tours, and shopping at IKEA.
- Disaster struck one night while getting ready for a camping trip. Ouch begins the tale, but make sure you stick through the ER visit to see the car conversations afterward.
- We took Mom on a cruise for her 50th birthday. Plenty of fun to be had beginning with Prelude to a Cruise.
- Get a glimpse of the day job in Scraps Talks Back.
- Another personal favorite: Hey Boo-Boob! takes a look at what it’s like when a busty girl tries yoga.
- Giving It a Try tells the first chapter of the Geek Romance story, a story that will end with the main players marrying in 2013 (though, sadly, not in comic form). Their story continues with A Month of Fridays.
- I had so much fun telling a love story, that the next month we tackled pet peeves. Misery loves company–see if you recognize any of your own irks beginning with How (NOT) to Take Out the Garbage, Part 1.
- Rings on Her Fingers was on the web before it reached print. This is one of those bits of personal history that had a fried proclaim the artist was “the heroine in her own chick lit novel.”
- You can’t last long in comics if you’re not willing to go to a few conventions. Our stories start with the short-lived Wrath of Con and go from there, picking the thread up again in Con Prep 2009.
- Learn 25 Things about the artist, as played out during April, 2009.
- Todd and Scraps had survived several road trips, lets try them on open water starting in Cruise Holiday 1.
- The office is always good fodder for comics, we take a closer look at that in the Working Girl story.
- Get It Together sums up some of the parties and gatherings we participated in.
- Everything isn’t always fun, but you can usually still laugh at it. And laughter is the best medicine (at least we hope so, in Doctor, Doctor).
- And, to close things out, we examine a girl going from on-her-own living situation (starting with A Room By Any Other Name) to cohabitation (beginning with a house hunt in The Hunt Begins).
Comics were’t all we were up to, though. In an effort to add something more to what was just a comics site, two blog features were begun, drawing on the artists’ past culinary career and present/future interest in cocktails and mixology. Now, Nibbles ‘n Bites and Sips & Shots both exist as stand-alone sites about food and comics, respectively.
A second comic, this one a work of fiction, was begun in February, 2009, at the request of Dino Andrade for SoulGeek–the online geek dating and community site. More can be found about this story at Where the Geeks Are.
Just because the comics are no longer updating on the web, doesn’t mean Scraps is done with the medium–not by a long shot! There are more culinary and comics fusions ahead for What to Feed Your Raiding Party, the rest of the story to tell for Where the Geeks Are, and at least one graphic novel just waiting for it’s turn on the table. To keep up with the latest in comics news from Scraps, make sure to check out Random Acts Comics.